We report protein-protein structure factors of aqueous lysozyme solutions at different pH and ionic strengths, as determined by small-angle neutron scattering experiments. The observed upturn of the structure factor at small wavevectors, as the pH increases, marks a crossover between two different regimes, one dominated by repulsive forces, and another one where attractive interactions become prominent, with the ensuing development of enhanced density fluctuations. In order to rationalize such experimental outcome from a microscopic viewpoint, we have carried out extensive simulations of different coarse-grained models. We have first studied a model in which macromolecules are described as soft spheres interacting through an attractive r−6 potential, plus embedded pHdependent discrete charges; we show that the uprise undergone by the structure factor is qualitatively predicted. We have then studied a Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (DLVO) model, in which only central interactions are advocated; we demonstrate that this model leads to a proteinrich/protein-poor coexistence curve that agrees quite well with the experimental counterpart; experimental correlations are instead reproduced only at low pH and ionic strengths. We have finally investigated a third, “mixed” model in which the central attractive term of the DLVO potential is imported within the distributed-charge approach; it turns out that the different balance of interactions, with a much shorter-range attractive contribution, leads in this latter case to an improved agreement with the experimental crossover. We discuss the relationship between experimental correlations, phase coexistence, and features of effective interactions, as well as possible paths toward a quantitative prediction of structural properties of real lysozyme solutions.

Effective interactions in lysozyme aqueous solutions: A small-angle neutron scattering and computer simulation study

ABRAMO, Maria Concetta;CACCAMO, Carlo;COSTA, Dino;PELLICANE, Giuseppe;WANDERLINGH, Ulderico
2012-01-01

Abstract

We report protein-protein structure factors of aqueous lysozyme solutions at different pH and ionic strengths, as determined by small-angle neutron scattering experiments. The observed upturn of the structure factor at small wavevectors, as the pH increases, marks a crossover between two different regimes, one dominated by repulsive forces, and another one where attractive interactions become prominent, with the ensuing development of enhanced density fluctuations. In order to rationalize such experimental outcome from a microscopic viewpoint, we have carried out extensive simulations of different coarse-grained models. We have first studied a model in which macromolecules are described as soft spheres interacting through an attractive r−6 potential, plus embedded pHdependent discrete charges; we show that the uprise undergone by the structure factor is qualitatively predicted. We have then studied a Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (DLVO) model, in which only central interactions are advocated; we demonstrate that this model leads to a proteinrich/protein-poor coexistence curve that agrees quite well with the experimental counterpart; experimental correlations are instead reproduced only at low pH and ionic strengths. We have finally investigated a third, “mixed” model in which the central attractive term of the DLVO potential is imported within the distributed-charge approach; it turns out that the different balance of interactions, with a much shorter-range attractive contribution, leads in this latter case to an improved agreement with the experimental crossover. We discuss the relationship between experimental correlations, phase coexistence, and features of effective interactions, as well as possible paths toward a quantitative prediction of structural properties of real lysozyme solutions.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11570/1941186
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